In addition to the claim that the creation account in Genesis is poetic, there are also two additional arguments that are presented against the young earth interpretation. The first is an appeal to authority, and the second involves a dispute over the meaning of the word “day” in the creation account. I will deal with the first half of the first claim in this article, and address the others in subsequent posts.
In the previous article, I explained why I view the first two chapters of Genesis to be of the same genre as the rest of the book. There are, of course, several arguments which are brought against this view, and I’d like to briefly address a few of them before moving on.
The first objection to my view is the claim that the order of the creation days reveals parallelism which is a feature of Hebrew poetry. This parallelism is supposedly seen in the fact that the days of creation are divided into two sets of three days and that the events of those two sets parallel each other as seen in the following table.
This is the first in a series of posts that may eventually turn into a book. I’ve been studying and debating the age of the earth for about fifteen years. I began in 1999 as a freshman in Bible college debating professors from UNC Charlotte in an internet discussion board. If you’ve read my book on the founding fathers, you know that I always prefer to read not just the original source but also the earliest printing of that source available, and I applied that same approach to the question of the age of the earth. Consequently, I’ve read things like Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Copernicus’ On The Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, Einstein’s Relativity, “The Great Expansion” by Gamow, “The Inflationary Universe” by Guth and Steinhardt, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and many, many more. I am not a trained scientist in the sense of having received a science degree from a university, but I have hunted down the original source of every argument that I’ve met with in regards to the old age of the universe, and I’ve found them all to be severely flawed. Now, I’d like to share a little bit of what I have learned in the process, and I hope that you will add your comments to the discussion as well.
In the comments following my review of the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, a commenter named Mike G. claimed that the results of the RATE project (a creationist effort to determine if radioisotope dating actually supports a young age for the earth) had been debunked by “legitimate physicists.” This comment prompted me to spend most of the day catching up on the published material in this area. I had read much of the material previously, but I found several additional articles that I had not previously been aware of.
This morning, I directed my web browser to debatelive.org and watched the recording of the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. The question being posed to the two opponents was “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Ham argued in the affirmative that the creation model should have a place in scientific discussions of origins, and Nye argued in the negative that the creation model proposed by Ham is detrimental to scientific progress. I thought that Ham did an excellent job of supporting his view with credible examples, but I was awestruck by the level of ignorance that Nye displayed in regards to the creation model.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)